As its petition to abolish leaseholds in the UK reaches over 26,000, the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) today unveiled its Mayday Pledge to bring justice for the more than six million Brits trapped in what is widely tipped to be the next mis-selling scandal.
The not-for-profit organisation has devised different pledges for developers, freeholders and local authorities to sign up to in the wake of the industries’ own pledge announced in March, which has been described by the NLC as being ‘as little as they think they can get away with’.
For existing leaseholders: 1. Identify leases within our portfolio which contain a clause whereby ground rent doubles more frequently than every 20 years, contact leaseholders to inform them, and offer to amend to one linked to RPI. 2.
Katie Kendrick said:
“We welcomed and actively participated in the damning Select Committee Inquiry report into the leasehold scandal which showed just how many people have been affected by these toxic leaseholds – an estimated one in five households in the UK – and how their trust has been broken by greedy businesses who have systematically milked them for everything they could get away with – from selling their leaseholds to overseas corporations, to doubling charges and ground rent at the drop of a hat to even charging them for installing a doorbell. It has created untold damage to the health and happiness of more than four million people in England and Wales and they have had enough.”
“That’s why we launched our petition to abolish leaseholds earlier this year and why we have now created the NLC Mayday Pledge where we are calling on developers, freeholders and local authorities to put their money where their mouth is. If they are truly concerned with acting in an ethical and transparent way, which their track record totally belies, then they will sign and actively embrace the changes needed. They cannot be trusted to regulate themselves and their pledge does not go far enough.”
The National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) is a not for profit organisation that is campaigning to abolish feudal leasehold laws which affect an estimated 6.6 million people in England and Wales and also campaigns to make Commonhold mandatory for flats.
It was created two years ago by three women campaigners, Katie Kendrick, Cath Williams and Jo Darbyshire, who found themselves trapped by unfair and extortionate leasehold arrangements.
“Shockingly many people don’t understand the full implications of leasehold or that that their freehold can be sold from beneath them to unscrupulous companies who can then hold them to ransom when it comes to selling or making changes to their ‘home’,” said Cath Williams.
“It is a mis-selling scandal which has caused financial ruin, stress and anxiety to many hard-working people who bought their properties in good faith and are now being treated appallingly.”
“Already, the NLC has achieved many victories, notably the end of leaseholds going forward but our work continues to help those still caught in the leasehold trap and the NLC Mayday Pledge is our response to the industry and to get fairness for our thousands of members.”
They have forwarded the NLC Mayday Pledge to all those who have signed the industry pledge and are awaiting their response.
For further information email Nationalleaseholdcampaign@gmail.com or follow the NLC on Facebook @ National Leasehold Campaign (NLC), or sign the petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/238071.
Below are links to the government’s finding, the industry pledge and full details of the NLC’s Mayday Pledge.
For case studies, interviews with Cath, Katie or Jo and FAQs, please contact Emma Chadwick at LIFE PR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know?
· That if people buy a leasehold property, they are a tenant – they don’t own a brick, they own the right to live in the property for the length of the lease
· That if people live in a flat, they may never be able to buy their own freehold unless 50% of residents agree
· If leaseholders want to do work on their home, even if they don’t need planning permission, the freeholder can charge them or deny them permission
· That leasehold properties were abolished in Scotland in 2004, so why are other UK homeowners still subjected to them?
THE NLC MAYDAY PLEDGE
We, the National Leasehold Campaign pledge to:
1. Campaign for the abolition of leasehold in England and Wales.
2. Campaign for Commonhold to be mandatory.
3. Campaign for full redress for those trapped in the Leasehold Scandal including a mis-selling inquiry.
4. Campaign for the adoption of the recommendations recently published in the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on Leasehold Reform and ensure these are included in all political party manifestos.
5. Continue to support MHCLG on leasehold reform.
6. Continue to support the Law Commission on their programme of leasehold reform.
7. Support the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on leasehold reform, of which the charity Leasehold Knowledge Partnership is the secretariat and organizes all meetings.
8. Raise awareness of leasehold (both flats & houses), fleecehold and non-adoption of public services.
9. Ensure leaseholders avoid the pitfalls of informal lease extensions and purchase of freehold.
This is what we believe the public pledge signed by freeholders should be:
We, the undersigned freeholders, pledge to:
1. Identify all leaseholders with leases which contain a clause whereby ground rent doubles or increases with RPI, contact leaseholders to inform them and offer them the option to purchase their freehold at the verbally agreed price discussed when the property was reserved or convert ground rent in line with the recommendations of the Commons Select Committee (ground rent should not exceed £250 pa and should not increase over time).
2. Repeat this offer when contacting a leaseholder or, if this is not always appropriate, ensure this offer is communicated clearly and displayed in a public open forum (for example, a website or communal notice board etc).
Should a leaseholder accept to change a doubling clause the Leaseholders will not incur any fees to alter.
3. Assist any leaseholder who approaches us to request clauses be reviewed (or any other matter regarding their lease), even if they have not previously taken up an offer of variation at no cost to the leaseholder.
4. Abolish permission fees for home alterations, remortgages, sales packs etc.
5. Ensure the process for leaseholders to acquire the freehold on their home or extend the terms of the lease is uncomplicated, transparent and fair.
6. Support leaseholders who wish to take over the collective management of their homes and any communal areas in excess of the currently inadequate leaseholder rights enshrined in legislation.
7. Have in place a complaints process that is transparent and fair, ensuring that complaints are heard and dealt with, and redress given quickly.
8. Have in place an appropriate redress scheme, so leaseholders have assurance that complaints will be heard.
We, the undersigned developers, pledge to:
1. Not to build any new leasehold houses.
2. Ensure that shared buildings are commonhold not leasehold.
3. Work with Local Authorities to ensure that common areas and public services are adopted.
4. Abolish permission fees for home alterations, remortgages, etc.
5. Develop and manage a comprehensive Code of Practice which establishes the highest ethical and operational standards for the building and sale of new properties, including a Key Features document at the point of sale and mandating full disclosure of all charges.
6. Implement a redress scheme to provide full financial redress for the thousands of customers who were not fully informed when they bought leasehold properties from us.
7. Immediately cease to recommend professionals to assist with the purchase of a new home (conveyancing solicitors, mortgage advisors, etc.)
8. Immediately cease selling any freeholds currently held by us to any third party investor and offer them to existing leaseholders at the verbally agreed price discussed when the property was reserved or convert ground rent in line with the recommendations of the Commons Select Committee (ground rent should not exceed £250 pa and should not increase over time).
9. Buy back the freeholds sold onto third parties and sell them back to the leaseholder at the price verbally agreed at the point of sale.
We, the undersigned Local Authorities pledge to:
1. Support leaseholders who are trapped in the Leasehold Scandal.
2. Support any legal action that leaseholders may undertake in relation to mis-selling.
3. Make it clear to developers that Local Authorities will not work with developers who continue to exploit leaseholders.
4. Support the adoption of common areas and public services.
5. Support and promote future commonhold developments